(Written by Ravynlocke; posted December 18, 2006)
Perhaps I was too busy singing as I dabbed a coat of handwavium on the helm design for the Hitchhiker. I do have this bad habit of getting too focused when I'm on a project. Besides, after all the time I'd spent scheming up and finding the mats for the mech, I could be allowed a little bit of tunnel-vision. I still couldn't believe how much the small bit of handwavium I'd gotten my hands on had multiplied since its arrival.
Then again, most people don't use a bathtub for a paint can. That was my worst decision. Chairs don't tend to hold up to my weight very well so it was equally unwise to spend so much time on a decades-old stepladder.
How else is a gal supposed to reach the top of a helm that's taller than she is? You improvise. Clad in tank top and shorts, barefoot for my own foolish sense of stability, I forged onward. I was bent halfway over the sloped dome of the helm, stretching to stubbornly reach a patch that my brush couldn't quite reach. 'A little step to the left, that's all I need.' came my thought as my foot sidled over in that direction. I'd already done this a few times in the process of painting and was teetering at the edge. That one little step was the kicker. Encountering only air left my foot scrabbling for some sort of purchase on the helm, the inch or so of ladder left, and ultimately the upper rim of the old clawfoot tub. Between the flailing and the old ladder, gravity soon won out and I fell square into the full tub.
Being soaked in the thick goo was like trying to swim through a tub of KY jelly someone set in the refridgerator overnight. Worse than mud and clinging to anything. I'm not quite sure how much I might have swallowed before I broke the surface. Certainly it felt like an eon before I came up for air and gagged on the stuff.
Now, I was a good girl in high school, I remembered the admonitions of what to do if you ever get chemicals on you. I wasn't utterly brainless as I thought myself to be. I had an emergency pull-shower in the work-room just in case. Sliding goopily out of the tub I hauled myself over to the shower and yanked the chain. Nothing like a forced deluge of water at high pressure to get you clean!
"Oh, fark this. I give up for now. If falling in the damn tub isn't enough of a sign." I muttered to myself as I pulled a tarp over the now-messy tub and shuffled out of the work-room. I'd heard and read conjectures on the possible effects of ingesting handwavium and I didn't particularly enjoy the prospect of being an accidental guinea pig. So far the only thing I felt was sleepy. Really sleepy in the way that I could go curl up in some sun and not wake up for the rest of the day.
"Fine idea. Maybe I'll have a better perspective after a nap." Scooping up one of my feline household I headed off for what I felt would be little more than a well-deserved rest.
*** Fourteen hours later ***
My feet were cold. My head was cramped at an odd angle. My blanket was weighted down around me far more than usual. Blinking my eyes as I swam to consciousness made me immediately grateful that I curtained out my bedroom into total darkness. A star could go nova outside of the portwindows and I would never even see a glow. Except now I was seeing light that I never see even at the height of the day back on Earth. Shapes were sharper than usual despite an odd film across my vision. Blinking again cleared the film with a sensation of something sliding over my eyes. I put it aside and tried to shift around in my little blanket prison.
A mew from the small of my back gave me some comprehension as to why I couldn't move. The subsequent chirps of annoyance told me that I was being addressed by Kyo, the eldest in my cattery. As if the chirping was a broadcast there soon came what seemed like a cacophony of mews, meows, chirps, yowls, and an almost incessant purring. I didn't just have Kyo around me, I had the entire cattery ensconced about me. The waking horde (I had managed to be owned by about thirty or forty at this point) moved enough that I had some wriggle room and allowed me to sit up. It took an interminably long time to get to something other than prone as my legs seemed to be a little confused. Not moving for a while has been known to do that to them before. I was also trying to figure out why everything smelled more like -cat- than I was used to. So strong. I almost wondered if Spooky had used the space under the bed for a toilet again.
It was about that time that Kyo decided it was time for the morning ritual of 'bite Mommy's hand' and attacked my right hand. I'm used to this by now so the attacks stopped hurting a while ago. It struck me that there seemed to be an odd padding on my hand. Kyo's teeth weren't really reaching my skin. Reaching beside me for the light on my nightstand, I brushed my fingers against the touch plate and hissed as the room flooded with light. "Ow. Oh, owowow. Bright. Bright! sun! Ow!" In the wake of light about a fifth of my feline companions took off in startlement while the others mostly vacated the bed for other sections of my room.
When my watering eyes cleared, again with that odd sliding sensation, I found myself staring down at my hand. I didn't remember going to bed in a coat. Certainly not in the misty-grey angora gloves my mother knit for me before I last left home. Reaching out, I plucked on the faintly striped fur draped around my wrist and yelped as pain rippled out from the source. Okay...the fur was connected. Time to keep investigating. Flinging the blanket off scattered the rest of my entourage and gave me the next shock of my life.
More fur. Lots of it. I put Lovelylocks, my Persian, to instant shame with the length and thickness of it. I could see that my days of shaving my legs were going to be a thing of the past at this rate. 'My legs...' pointed out some small mental voice as I looked down at the limbs in question. Instead of the chubby human legs I was used to I was presented with a pair of thickly furred digitigrade legs terminating in rather large paws. Paws? 'I have paws?'
It came to me in a rush as my mind backtracked over recent events and made a startling conclusion (though, the impact could have come from Kyo attempting to leap for my shoulder and yanking on the hair at the back of my head instead). I fell in the tub of handwavium. Handwavium has caused modifications when ingested. I still had no clue of how much I swallowed when I fell.